Letter: Build America proposal is alternative to tolls
To the Editor:
Let me set the record straight: I don’t want tolls. Who does?
But it’ll take billions to fix Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure — far more than gas taxes alone can provide. So, where will the money come from?
For years, there were just two alternatives: 1) raise taxes, or 2) introduce some form of tolling. Of those two evils, I‘ve long preferred tolls. It’s only fair that those who use the roads should pay for them. Further, 30-40% of toll revenues would come from out-of-staters (NY, NJ and MA expect us to cough up when we drive there).
If last week’s letter-writer had been following the news, he’d have known the state may have found a third alternative: cheap federal financing through something called the Build America Bureau. What's exciting about this solution is seeing Hartford’s Democrats and Republicans agree on a major issue. If it plays out, this bipartisan program will render the toll debate moot and we should all be happy for that.
Yes, traffic is an issue — and as first selectman I’ve been actively working to address it. For example, the Main Street 2020-21 project, financed entirely with state and federal dollars, will improve vehicle flow through town without affecting downtown character.
And I’ve been working with other local leaders and state officials from NY and CT to urge state DOTs to address the actual source of much of our rush-hour traffic woes: the severe congestion where I-84 meets I-684. We, along with North and South Salem, have experienced heavy traffic due to people using Waze and other aps to divert in order to avoid this severe congestion.
So, do I want tolls? No. And with the Build America proposal, we may not need them.
Editor’s note: First Selectman Marconi is referencing a letter to the editor written last week by a candidate running for the Board of Selectman.